Is a Sport Utility Vehicle Right for You?

Eleanor Hanson

As you browse for your next vehicle, naturally the goal is to trade up. You want a newer model, perhaps something with more room – a necessity if you have added on to your family. If you have only owned sedans or smaller throughout your driving experience, the thought of going larger may not have occurred to you. Buying a sport utility vehicle, while having the potential to benefit your lifestyle, is a huge step from a simpler car. The decision to buy one definitely calls for serious thought.

For the car owner who has never owned an SUV, much less test driven one, there may come some apprehension. Will I be able to park it without scraping against another car, or make three-point turns? It isn’t uncommon to feel intimidated – if you aren’t used to riding in or driving an SUV, it might as well be an eighteen-wheeler. However, if your lifestyle has changed to the point that larger is necessary, there are ways to conquer your fears and determine the best ride for your needs. Consider these points:

1) Has your family grown? Have you taken up hobbies or work that require constantly ferrying of bicycles, boxes, or large equipment? Moving stuff around in a smaller car can put a strain on the engine and affect your gas mileage for the worse. With an SUV designed to withstand the weight, you’ll find it less aggravating to transport everything.

2) Do you feel cramped inside in smaller car now? Has anyone in your family found it difficult to bend down into a car lately? As people get older, it can become a chore trying to squeeze into a hatchback. An SUV gives you the room to breathe and relax as you drive.

3) Concerned about price? While it’s true sports utility vehicles are priced higher than regular cars, there is the option of shopping for a pre-owned SUV. Combined with a decent trade-in, you may find payments are not as bad as you’d suspect.

Before you write off buying an SUV completely, take some time in your car shopping to test drive a model that looks most suitable to your needs. Once you get behind the wheel, you’ll know for sure if you can handle steering and backing up. As with any car you buy, there is an adjustment period – even if you buy the same model you’re used to driving. Ask questions about pricing, gas mileage, and durability, and leave each lot with an open mind.

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